Open main menu

An electric unicycle is a self-balancing personal transporter with a single wheel. The rider controls the speed by leaning forwards or backwards, and steers by twisting the unit using their feet. The self-balancing mechanism uses gyroscopes and accelerometers in a similar way to that used by the Segway PT.

Theory of operationEdit

Most commercial units are self-balancing in the direction of travel only (single axis) with lateral stability being provided by the rider; more complex fully self-balancing dual-axis devices also need to self-balance from side to side. The control mechanisms of both use control moment gyroscopes, reaction wheels and/or auxiliary pendulums and can be considered to be inverted pendulum.[citation needed]


Trevor Blackwell demonstrates his prototype

Early experimentationEdit

See also Monowheel

A hand-power monowheel was patented in 1869 by Richard C. Hemming[1] with a pedal-power unit patented in 1885.[2] Various motorized monowheels were developed and demonstrated during the 1930s without commercial success[3] and Charles F Taylor was granted a patent for a "vehicle having a single supporting and driving wheel" in 1964 after some 25 years of experimentation.[4]


In 2003, Bombardier announced a conceptual design for such a device used as a sport vehicle, the Embrio.[5] In September 2004 Trevor Blackwell demonstrated a functional self-balancing unicycle, using the control-mechanism similar to that used by the Segway PT and published the designs as the Eunicycle.[6] In November 2006 Janick and Marc Simeray filed a US patent for a compact seatless device,[7]. In 2008 RYNO Motors demonstrated their prototype unit.[8] In January 2009 Focus Designs demonstrates electric unicycle to Segway inventor.[9] In Oct 2010 Focus Designs published a video of an electric unicycle with hub motor and a seat.[10]

Shane Chen of Inventist launched the compact seatless "Solowheel" in February 2011[11] and in the following month concluded a licensing agreement with the Simeray brothers[12][13] and filed a patent relating to the device[14] which was challenged by the Simeray brothers in a related patent application filed in 2015.[13] Late in 2015, the Ford Motor Company patented a "self-propelled unicycle engagable with vehicle", intended for last-mile commuters.[15]

Popular cultureEdit



See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Improvement in velocipede, 1869
  2. ^ US Patent 325,548
  3. ^ "One-wheeled motorcycles: As cool as they are wildly dangerous". Wired. 24 March 2014.
  4. ^ US Patent 3,145,797
  5. ^ "Hot Wheel". Forbes.
  6. ^ "Journal entry for 25 September 2004". Live Journal. 25 September 2004.
  7. ^ US patent 6,616,313 Motorized transport vehicle for a pedestrian
  8. ^ "A brief history of the RYNO". RYNO.
  9. ^ "SBU meet the Segway | Self-Balancing Unicycle | Focus Designs, Inc". Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  10. ^ focusdesigns (2010-10-11), Self Balancing Unicycle (SBU) V2.0, retrieved 2018-10-07
  11. ^ "Solowheel self-balancing unicycle is as easy to ride as it is to afford". Wngadget. 2011-02-11.
  12. ^ "Patent and technology licence agreement" (PDF).
  13. ^ a b "Longitudinally and laterally self-balanced electric unicycle". Inventist and its owner Shane Chen concluded with the present applicant Simeray in March 2011 a license of Simeray's 2005 invention... During the negotiation of the license, and without disclosing it to Simeray, Shane Chen has filed the utility patent application US 20110220427
  14. ^ US Patent 8,807,250 Powered single-wheeled self-balancing vehicle for standing user
  15. ^ Read, Richard (December 29, 2015). "Ford Patent Could Transform Your Car Into A Unicycle". The Car Connection. Internet Brns Automotive Group. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  16. ^ ANALOG — Science Fiction/Science Fact, Vol. LXXXIII, No. 5, July 1969, pp. 120-151. Illustrations by Peter Skirka.
  17. ^ "Little Wheel - game at". Retrieved 2013-04-26.
  18. ^ "Learn how to do a rolling jump on a unicycle". YouTube. 2018-03-24.
  19. ^ "How to Jump with ANY Electric Unicycle". YouTube. 2019-07-10.
  20. ^ "SBU testing has begun… | Self-Balancing Unicycle | Focus Designs, Inc". Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ July 29, 2019
  25. ^ Solowheel
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^

Further readingEdit

Research papers (in reverse date order)